Game Day

On the bus ride driving to Ellora, I was absolutely terrified to give my short presentation. I spent so much of the semester preparing, however I felt that when the time came to spoke, what I researched would not make much sense. This is because my research is not necessarily fact-based. My research is open to interpretation and something that will only be witnessed if the viewer chooses so. With situations like this, there is a lot of room for people to experience different things and disagree with each other on what the “truth” really is.

One of the friezes flanking the staircase

Upon arriving at Ellora, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty and size of the temple. It was so much more magical than I expected. The intricate details, the huge figures and even the color was amazing to see. Pictures truly do not do it justice. For a few minutes I just walked around with so many thoughts running through my head. I then saw the staircase with the frieze that I studied and I was reminded of my research! My research was focused on how the monument at Ellora can be viewed as a chronological journey. I began by explaining the concept of the four yugas which I learned from the Britannica Dictionary are ages of mankind. We are currently in the fourth and will be in this yuga until the destruction of the world and time will then reset in the first yuga. I explained how as you circumambulate on the first level of Kailasanatha you are traveling in the fourth yuga. As  I learned through John Hawley’s work, as you climb the staircase on either the right or the left, you are also traveling through the friezes flanking the walls which our representative of the second or third yuga. It was also important to explain how to read the friezes which Stephen Markel talked about in his book. The friezes must be read from

The Dravida form of the temple

left to right and top to the bottom.  When you arrive on the top level of the Kailasanatha Temple, you have entered the first yuga. The dravida form of the temple also echoes the theme of transcending time, as the higher up

you go the closer to Shiva you are! It feels so different to talk about this theme in class with pictures then it was to share it with my peers when we were actually there! I did not expect to feel as excited as I did to share the journey with them and my hope is that they experienced the symbolic journey through time while being at the temple! Kailasa is truly such a magical and powerful place.

If you wanted to learn more I would suggest checking these sources out:

Britannica Academic, s.v. “Yuga,” accessed November 16, 2016,

Hawley, John Stratton. “Scenes from the Childhood of Kṛṣṇa on the Kailāsanātha Temple, Ellora.” Archives of Asian Art 34 (1981): 74-90.

Stephen Markel. “The “Rāmāyaṇa” Cycle on the Kailāsanātha Temple at Ellora.” Ars Orientalis 30 (2000): 59-71.

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